2021 could be record year for data breaches – NBC 7 San Diego
While the world has slowed down during the coronavirus pandemic, cybercriminals generally haven’t. In fact, the number of data breaches has increased.
“In the first nine months of this year, we have already exceeded the total number of data breaches we had in 2020 by more than 17%,” said Eva Velasquez of the Identity Theft Resource Center. “We are on the verge of having a banner year.”
ITRC data shows that at the end of September, there had been 1,291 reported data breaches, up from 1,108 in 2020. The all-time high was in 2017, with 1,529.
“Phishing and ransomware are the main ways bad actors get into our systems and get our data,” Velasquez said.
In the third quarter of the year, according to the ITRC, 160 million people had their data compromised. While cyber crooks typically prey on databases of information stored by companies, Velasquez said, there are ways to protect yourself.
- Make sure your software is up to date: outdated software on computers and phones can make them vulnerable to criminals
- Freeze or review credit reports regularly: If you don’t plan on getting a new credit card or loan, freezing your credit may be a good idea. Otherwise, Velasquez said, you should review your complete reports to make sure that no new accounts have been opened with your information.
- Change passwords regularly: the most valuable information can be email addresses and passwords, as they open many doors for bad actors. Make sure you use strong passwords. Also consider using a password manager to help you keep track of passwords for different sites.